A New Zealand High Court judge has ruled that the search warrants issued against MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom in January this year were invalid.
Judge Helen Winkelmann ruled that the warrants were overly vague, saying, “These categories of items were defined in such a way that they would inevitably capture within them both relevant and irrelevant material. The police acted on this authorisation. The warrants could not authorise seizure of irrelevant material, and are therefore invalid.”
The ruling could put a crimp into the case taking place in the US, which alleges that DotCom and MegaUpload are responsible for $500 million in lost revenue that should have gone to Hollywood.
The judge also said that data secured during the raid on DotCom’s home earlier this year should never have been sent overseas, saying “…the release of the cloned hard drives to the FBI for shipping to the United States was contrary to the 16 February direction that the items seized were to remain in the custody and control of the Commissioner of Police.” DotCom was reportedly supposed to give his consent before the cloned drives could be sent to the States.
An independent lawyer has been appointed to inspect the items that were seized in the raid. Anything not relevant to the investigation is set to be returned to DotCom, while relevant items will be turned over to investigating officers. DotCom’s legal representatives in the US are due in court in Virginia tomorrow to argue that charges against the MegaUpload founder should be thrown out.